January 27, 2011

The stories we tell ourselves when we are at the gym

I went down to the basement of my office building to get on the treadmill after several days of being sick. I took it real easy and only did one mile of walk/jog for about 15 minutes. Sometimes you see the darnedest things at a mini-gym in the basement of your office building. A woman dressed in a business pantsuit was behind me chewing bubblegum and bench pressing. The odd choice of workout attire is unsettlingly common in this gym, but for some reason it reminded me of when I first started going to a gym and how self-conscious I felt as a beginner.
I started off going to the UM gym on the athletic campus, which happened to be on the same block as my work. So, it was not unusual to have to share equipment with NCAA athletes, which was quite intimidating at first (oops, they left the weight setting at eleventy-billion pounds, I'll have to adjust that to 3 pounds for me). What got me over it was just going frequently and getting used to the atmosphere. For the first year I think I never deviated from the small group of elliptical machines on the third floor. Then over time I incorporated some more workouts and after a while I was doing free weights next to the guys who looked like inverted pyramids down in the basement. Another thing that I realized quickly was that I wasn't in competition with any of these people. Comparing myself to them was silly. I quickly learned to compare my past performance at the gym with the current performance and to compete with that.

The mini-gym at Speedy Chub's Office

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